GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis responded to rumors he may drop out of the 2024 race should he lose to former President Trump in the Iowa caucuses. 

DeSantis told Fox News’ Bill Melugin at a town hall event in Grimes, Iowa, that the rumors were “categorically false” and a “lie.” “Totally made up,” he said. 

The Florida governor added that he believes the rumor was created to get people not to show up and vote. 

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A December poll from NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom found Trump holding a commanding lead, with 51% of likely Republican caucusgoers saying their first choice is the former 45th president. 

DeSantis was in second place at 19%, followed by Nikki Haley at 16%. Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie were in single digits at 5% and 4%, respectively. 

Fox News’ Guy Benson said DeSantis has “a lot at stake” in Iowa and has been working very hard on the ground. 

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“If he performs very poorly, then I think there will be some tough conversations within that campaign. But look, we always, or often in the early days of these primary seasons, see some surprises,” Benson said on “The Big Weekend Show.” “Now, look, it would be a big surprise if someone other than Trump wins Iowa. But I think writing anyone off, especially someone who’s been at least competitive in that state at this stage, is premature.” 

Co-host Alicia Acuna said she’s been covering races for the last two decades, and one thing stands out to her: voters don’t like being told what to do. 

“Right now, the narrative is that Trump is going to take this thing and sweep through Iowa, sweep through New Hampshire, and just keep on going all the way to the convention in July. It’s January, and we have to, I believe, give the voters a chance,” she explained. “The polls are telling us so much, but to Guy’s point, there have been surprises. Will there be an earthquake? Probably not. But it’s not over. It’s not over. It’s not over.”